Lesson 64: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The sun shone down for nearly a week on the secret garden. The Secret Garden was what Mary called it when she was thinking of it. She liked the name, and she liked still more the feeling that when its beautiful old walls shut her in no one knew where she was. It seemed almost like being shut out of the world in some fairy place. The few books she had read and liked had been fairy-story books, and she had read of secret gardens in some of the stories. Sometimes people went to sleep in them for a hundred years, which she had thought was rather foolish. She had no intention of going to sleep, and, in fact, she was becoming wider awake every day which passed at Misselthwaite. She was beginning to like to be out of doors; she no longer hated the wind, but enjoyed it. She could run faster, and longer, and she could skip up to a hundred. The bulbs in the secret garden must have been much astonished. Such nice clear places were made round them that they had all the breathing space they wanted, and really, if Mistress Mary had known it, they began to cheer up under the dark earth and work tremendously. The sun could get at them and warm them, and when the rain came down it could reach them at once, so they began to feel very much alive.

Mary was an odd, determined little person, and now she had something interesting to be deter- mined about, she was very much absorbed, indeed. She worked and dug and pulled up weeds steadily, only becoming more pleased with her work every hour instead of tiring of it. It seemed to her like a fascinating sort of play. She found many more of the sprouting pale green pointsthan she had ever hoped to find. They seemed to be starting up everywhere and each day shewas sure she found tiny new ones, some so tiny that they barely peeped above the earth. There were so many that she remembered what Martha had said about the “snowdrops by the thou- sands,” and about bulbs spreading and making new ones. These had been left to themselves for ten years and perhaps they had spread, like the snowdrops, into thousands. She wondered howlong it would be before they showed that they were flowers. Sometimes she stopped digging tolook at the garden and try to imagine what it would be like when it was covered with thousands of lovely things in bloom.

A) Name two or more things that Mary enjoys about the outdoors.

B) Complete the analogy.
snowdrops : flowers : : ___________ :______________

  1. a cold winter wind : a warm summer breeze
  2. grains of sand on the beach : stars in the sky
  3. raindrops : budding plants

C) Match each word to its meaning.

astonished                            a flower organ, like a seed
determined                           surprised
intention                               growing
bulb                                          plan
fascinating                            resolved or purposeful
sprouting                               interesting

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